FROM STAFF REPORTS
OAK HARBOR — In the biggest game of the season, Oak Harbor answered the call to defeat Willard, 50-43, and earn a spot atop the Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division standings.
The Rockets (8-6, 6-1 SBC Bay) held off a late rally by the Crimson Flashes for the win. Oak Harbor led 40-34 after three quarters and Willard (10-5, 5-2) got within one point at 44-43 before committing some costly turnovers. Blake Booker and T.J. Hallett hit four free throws in the final 32 seconds as the Rockets slowly pulled away.
“We definitely knew coming in that the winner would be at the top of the league standings by themselves. At this point, that’s a big advantage. It doesn’t guarantee that we’re going to win the division, but it puts us in the driver’s seat,” said Oak Harbor coach Eric Sweet. “We control our own destiny. It was a big win for us, a big win for the program. To beat Willard twice was a huge accomplishment.”
Booker led all scorers with 20 points, including four 3-pointers, and Hallett finished with 11. Myles Pinkston and Trey Paxton scored 13 points apiece to lead Willard.
“Blake and T.J. have been our consistent scorers. They’re averaging about 19.5 points and 12.0 points, respectively. They give us the chance to stay in games, they take some pressure off other people,” said Sweet. “We have the ability to get other guys involved. Brenan Ish hit a big 3 against Willard. Those two guys have been huge for us this year. It opens up driving lanes for our other kids and open shots for our other shooters.”
The Rockets have won four straight games and five out of six after a 3-5 start.
“I’m very proud of where we are right now. We’re a tough-nosed team, we’re coming together. We have a lot of guys that haven’t played a lot of varsity minutes. So I’m very proud of where we are right now,” said Sweet. “We work very hard in practice and it shows in games. We shoot the ball well and we know our roles. To be 6-1, it’s about the team doing it together. I’m very proud of the five seniors we have, they’re great leaders. We’re playing strong, tough basketball. We’ve got a long way to go, this group of kids has been phenomenal to coach.”
Oak Harbor 54, Eastwood 51
Blake Booker and T.J. Hallett combined for 48 points as Oak Harbor defeated Eastwood, 54-51. Booker connected on seven 3-pointers and finished with 24 points while Hallett hit four 3-pointers and also scored 24 points.
The Rockets led 13-10 after one quarter and 26-25 at halftime before outscoring the Eagles (4-5) 20-14 in the third to take a 46-39 lead.
Jacob Meyer scored 15 points to lead Eastwood and Isaac Badenhop finished with 11 points.
Port Clinton wins a nail-biter over Huron
In the past, Port Clinton might’ve lost a game like this one.
A close, hard-fought battle between two good teams ended with the Redskins, who were mired in a four-game losing streak, narrowly defeating Huron on the road, 45-42.
Tyler Webb and Elliot Auxter hit some key free throws in the final minute as Port Clinton (5-9, 2-5 Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division) held off a Tiger rally. The ‘Skins led by nine points early in the fourth quarter, but Huron (4-4, 2-3) cut the deficit to two points with 19 seconds left to play. Dylan Hohler missed a last-second 3-pointer that would’ve tied it.
“It was a very important win. We wanted this game bad. We’ve lost a lot of close games. We were 1-5 in the league, and I think all of those losses were by five points or less,” said Port Clinton coach Ryan Hicks. We wanted to take the lessons we’ve learned from our close losses and get the victory. By no stretch of the imagination did we play perfect, but we did enough to get it done. We needed to win a close game and get that confidence.”
Huron led 12-9 after the first quarter and 21-18 at halftime before Port Clinton turned it on in the third quarter, outscoring the Tigers, 16-7, to take a 34-28 lead into the fourth. The ‘Skins led by as many as nine points in the fourth quarter.
Adam Thorbahn led all scorers with 21 points, and had 15 of Port Clinton’s 18 first-half points. Tommy Owens scored all six of his points in the fourth quarter.
Hohler had 13 points to lead the Tigers and Jacob Lamb finished with 11.
Hicks credited Thorbahn for his stellar play.
“We had a slow start. We started to get the ball to Adam, he had a really good game. He kept us in the game so Huron didn’t get a big lead on us,” said Hicks. “He got it going inside early on. He had some good finishes around the basket. He did a good job of finishing around the rim and attacking the paint. He got the hot hand there for a quarter-and-a-half. We rode him while everyone else was struggling to make some shots.
Our defense held them down enough to keep us in the game. I think both teams struggled offensively. In the second half, I think their game plan was to turn the pressure up on us and get in our face. Elliot and Tyler did a good job of taking care of the ball and not turning it over.
“Tommy Owens was in foul trouble for a large portion of the game, but in the fourth quarter, he was the only person who made a field goal for us, and he was 4-of-4 from the free-throw line. Tyler and Elliot also hit free throws down the stretch to seal the game.”
Danbury falls to Gibsonburg
Gibsonburg jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in its 83-49 victory over Danbury.
The Golden Bears (5-5, 4-4 Sandusky Bay Conference River Division) led 31-12 after one quarter and 46-17 at halftime.
Aidan McGough led all scorers with 24 points, including 14 in the first half, and Nick Tornow finished with 17 points, all of them coming in the first two quarters.
Bradley Murray scored 18 points to lead the Lakers (2-12, 1-9) and Blake Barker scored eight points.